The past season saw the emergence of the TWolves Army at the Target Center for each and every Timberwolves game. You have likely seen them on TV many a time, and at the very least, you have definitely heard them through your television! We sent two members of the Army (Don Ackerman and Jeni Shelton) a few questions and they were gracious enough to take the time to provide some insight on the group and take a brief look at the past, present, and future.
Pups: If you don’t mind, take us back to the beginning; how did Twolves Army get started?
Don: It started with Mark Haugen, a super-fan working with Jeff Munneke of the Timberwolves. He founded “Los Locos” (“The Crazies”) for the Crazy Fan section. In fact, he was fan of the week talking about the section. Here’s a link to the NBA.TV interview. It grew adding fans. We originally were set up next to the College section, but we were too wild for them. 😉
The idea behind the section was these four principles for our fan-friendly super-fan section:
- Stand up!
- Be heard!
- Don’t stop!
- Be positive!
Pups: We’ve noticed the global expansion efforts across social media. How is that going and what are your goals moving forward for further growth?
Jeni: We received great response from fans all over the globe that wanted to be involved with the TWolves Army. They all have twitter accounts and some have already had viewing parties for a game or two last season. We look forward to more involvement with these fans for the upcoming season. This is very exciting for us.
Don: Yes, we are global because we want to be open to all Timberwolves fans.
Pups: How does or can someone join the Twolves Army?
Jeni: The Army section is open to all fans. There are a few ways to join in on any given game. The best way is to get to a game an hour before game time. We have a table next to the ticket sales on the main entrance. There we upgrade fans from their seats to our section. Last season the upgrades were gone in less than 15 minutes for marquee games. If a fan wants to secure an upgrade for one of those games they are usually in line a few hours before game time. Another way to join our section is to follow Twolves Army on twitter and Facebook. Check in with us regularly for contests to win tickets in the TWolves Army section.
Don: Be one of the first so many fans to upgrade into our section. Just find our table in the lobby. My daughters are also active in the group so we’re open to fans of all ages.
Pups: What is your favorite Twolves Army-related story – whether it be fun in the stands, a particular game or turnout, etc.?
Jeni: I don’t have just one favorite moment; there have been so many because of the level of fun. I have made friends with many fans that love the TWolves as much as I do. It is really awesome when we see the players look up at us. Several of the players have commented to us or others that they love the energy we bring to the game for them. That makes it all that much more worth it, to me. Sometimes we push the line. The game we played against Brooklyn was one of those times. Kris Humphries refused to go on the court until security came up to our section and took our Kim & Kanye bighead away from us! Hilarious!! We got it returned to us after the game. J
Don: For my family, the best memory is the friends we’ve made with other fans in Section 121. You can always cheer together at a game, but many of us have bonded over cheering. My youngest daughter’s favorite memory was cheering with John Hanson of Twin Cities Live. He joined 121 for a game & a group of Wolves fans went to Saint Paul to join a Live Show & show our cheering there. My oldest daughter loves the fans & loves being able to dance and be myself without completely sticking out because everyone else is doing something equally as crazy! One of my favorite moments last season was holding Crunch’s drum while he beat it to cheer on the team. That was fun.
Pups: How/When did your fandom start for the Timberwolves and what is your favorite memory in their 25 years of existence?
Jeni: 1989. Pro hoops returned to Minnesota! Christmas came early that year! I have been a season ticket holder for many years. There have been games that I have gone to alone because I couldn’t find anyone to come with me. It is really hard for me to miss a game. I almost feel guilty if I do. I have been involved with basketball since I was 2. My dad coached a team named Bananas, I was his assistant. It’s all history from there, I was hooked.
Every once in a while you can find me in the old Armory building downtown. This is where the Minnesota Lakers played. It’s a parking garage now, yet evidence of years ago still remains. I love to look around there and imagine what it was like at a game. I will never stop believing in my team! We are playoff bound this year, so watch out! Here we come! Full force!
Don: My fandom for the Timberwolves is really due to the great Timberwolves staff. There’s been many buzzer-beating wins over the years, but I truly enjoyed two moments: 1st playoff game and the playoff win over Sacramento. The retirement of Malik’s jersey was the most touching moment in my Timberwolves experience.
Pups: Finally, a question we have been dying to ask: we obviously love your TimberPUP mascot; who do we have to pay to dance around at Target Center with him/her and how often is he/she allowed to come out of the cage?
Jeni: TimberPUP makes several appearances before games. He is usually on the skyway level. The Target Center has strict rules on full face coverings, which say TimberPUP is restricted to outside the stadium entrances. L We have been working on getting him special privileges to come into Target Center. If we get the okay this season, he would love to shake it with you!!
Again, we want to thank Don and Jeni for taking the time to provide their perspective on the TWolves Army! We’re looking forward to the start of the 2013/14 season and seeing what they do next! Here is one of the many pictures we have of the TimberPUP over in our Facebook album.